Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Moonflowers Blooming on the Balcony

Carpe diem. It never hurts to be reminded of that.

Just last week, one of my beach guests, recovering from chest pains while overlooking the ocean, had received that very reminder from her husband (hysterically responding to him with, "Who are you and what have you done with my husband?").

But it was sage advice.

Today's rainy road trip took me far enough into Mathews County that I was within spitting distance of Gwynn's Island to interview a successful business owner about his past, present and future. Standard stuff, right?

Except, no, anything but.

Imagine a 38-year old man having a heart problem misdiagnosed and now, six years later, his heart is in such bad shape as a result that in two days he will have a battery-powered mechanical pump implanted to stave off end-stage heart failure, followed by his name going on the heart transplant list.

Turns out that last week while I was reveling in my annual week in Kitty Hawk, he was a few miles away in Nags Head relishing his last trip frolicking in the ocean, at least until he gets a new heart because pumps and swimming are incompatible.

It's almost too difficult to get my head around the idea of going in the ocean last week (as I did) without knowing if you'll ever be able to go in again.

I look back now with cosmic gratitude for his sake for the 70-degree water.

The thing is, he's only 44 years old now and his life is already drastically changed and things are about to undergo even more adjustment post-surgery. So while I'll be flying across the pond Thursday, he'll be holed up at MCV, a few blocks from my house, undergoing eight hours of surgery and spending three weeks there recovering from it.

All because someone made a bad call and now he's paying with his health, perhaps even his life.

I know, I know, plenty of people have terrible things happen to them while others blithely move through life with nothing more serious than the usual bumps and scrapes that all humans experience.

When I shared my own great tragedy from a couple decades ago, he teared up in empathy, but we found common ground in a shared philosophy. When bad things happen, good people have two choices: curl up in a ball and give up, or deal and move on, which brings us back to carpe diem.

So I seized the day by making the most of a wet foray to the bay, loving up on two personable beagles - an old one at his house and a young one in the hallway of my apartment building - walking twice, morning and evening, simply because I could and seeing "Genius," a geeky literary movie based on a geeky, literary bio I read over a decade ago.

Don't mind me, I'm just over here gathering my rosebuds while I may. With, by the way, enormous gratitude for the ability to do so.

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